Cyclone contribution to the Mediterranean Sea water budget

Abstract : This paper analyzes the impact of cyclones to the atmospheric components on the Mediterranean Sea Water Budget, namely the cyclones contribution to precipitation and evaporation over the Mediterranean Sea. Three regional simulations were performed with the WRF model for the period 1989–2008. The model was run (1) as a standalone model, (2) coupled with the oceanic model NEMO-MED12 and (3) forced by the smoothed Sea Surface Temperature (SST) fields from the second simulation. Cyclones were tracked in all simulations, and their contribution to the total rainfall and evaporation was quantified. Results show that cyclones are mainly associated with extreme precipitation, representing more than 50 % of the annual rainfall over the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, we found that cyclone-induced evaporation represents only a small fraction of the annual total, except in winter, when the most intense Mediterranean cyclones take place. Despite the significant contribution of cyclones to rainfall, our results show that there is a balance between cyclone-induced rainfall and evaporation, suggesting a weak net impact of cyclones on the Mediterranean Sea water budget. The sensitivity of our results with respect to rapid SST changes during the development of cyclones was also investigated. Both rainfall and evaporation are affected in correlation with the SST response to the atmosphere. In fact, air feedbacks to the Mediterranean Sea during the cyclones occurrence were shown to cool down the SST and consequently to reduce rainfall and evaporation at the proximity of cyclone centers.
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Emmanouil Flaounas, A. Di Luca, Philippe Drobinski, Sylvain Mailler, Thomas Arsouze, et al.. Cyclone contribution to the Mediterranean Sea water budget. Climate Dynamics, Springer Verlag, 2016, 46 (3), pp.913-927. ⟨10.1007/s00382-015-2622-1⟩. ⟨insu-01152451⟩

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